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Registration open for LSSA Conference: July 2020
South Africa - LSSA
The Law Society of South Africa’s annual conference has been postponed to July 2020. The exact dates will be confirmed. The conference will focus on one of the key challenges for the legal profession; Renewal of the profession, access, diversity and sustainability.

The conference will be preceded by the annual general meeting (AGM) on the Thursday from 15h00 to 17h00 at the same venue as the conference. The AGM is open to all practitioners. Seats are limited for the AGM and booking is essential.

We have invited Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as well as the Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, to give the profession guidance on how we as practitioners, can work around these challenges and can co-operate with their offices.

The rest of the day will be devoted to discussions on the sustainability and governance of the profession. There will also be a panel discussion on what members can expect from their professional association, focusing on what members expect from the LSSA.

On the Saturday, there will be a stakeholders’ discussion where representatives of the Legal Practice Council, the LSSA and the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund will discuss what has been done since the implementation of the Legal Practice Act (LPA) and the challenges ahead. Since the LPA does not make provision for an annual meeting of members, this is a rare opportunity for practitioners to raise questions with representatives of these organisations.

The Property Industry Group announces its retail tenant assistance relief package
South Africa - The Property Industry Group
The Property Industry Group has announced an industry-wide assistance and relief package for retail tenants that are hardest hit by complying with South Africa’s lockdown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, which focuses principally on supporting affected SMMEs, also provides relief and assistance to all other retail tenants and will be rolled out by landlords nationally.

During the week of 23 March 2020, the major representative bodies for real estate in South Africa – the SA REIT Association (SA REIT), SA Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) – formed a collective, which has been coordinating its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically the economic effects of the 21-day lockdown. The newly formed Property Industry Group collectively speaks for the commercial real estate sector in SA, which includes the country’s large property owners.

The commercial property sector makes a significant contribution to SA’s society, economy, tax revenue and employment. It is responsible for more than 300,000 jobs directly and indirectly in other sectors such as security, cleaning, hygiene and technical services, and building and construction.  
The Property Industry Group

Property outlook
South Africa - Property360
At the beginning of this year, a few green shoots of activity signalled a tiny bit of hope in what was always going to be a tough economy and property market.

Just three months into the year, Covid-19 and the Moody’s downgrade stomped that optimism back into the ground. “Activity is probably going to be quite close to zero for the next two months, if not longer, in the residential property sector,” says David Sedgwick, managing director of Horizon Capital Residential.

Small levels of activity will undoubtedly be driven by distressed sales and other opportunities in such a market, but for most people, it is a case of cash preservation, liquidity management, and delayed discretionary purchasing. With forecasts ranging from -1.8% to -7%, he says no one really knows the full extent of the contraction.

“This will have a devastating impact on businesses of all sizes, especially medium and small businesses, job losses and pay freezes, if not reductions.” How quickly the economy can be fired up will determine what will be seen in the property market, Sedgwick says.

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